Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
thepea
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Re: Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

Post by thepea » Sun Mar 04, 2018 1:58 pm

denise wrote:
Sun Mar 04, 2018 1:43 pm
so people spinning thousands of prayer wheels and hanging prayer flags have incorrect behavior.....burning incense and candles and making offerings at shrines should stop? :thinking: the Buddha said he was not God.....nor is he a drive thru or a department store....interesting about the desire/craving bit though......ok...be well
I’ve never said prayer is wrong. If you like to do something do it.
My son is a goalie on his hockey team and I routinely sit in the stands hoping that he stops the puck from scoring.
This is craving the more I desire for him to stop the puck the more agitated/suffering experienced.
As I said kamma produced can be light or heavy, it is craving and it is the cause of suffering.
Buddha probably said he was not “a” god, there is a difference between god singular and the gods like Zeus, etc..,

dharmacorps
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Re: Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

Post by dharmacorps » Sun Mar 04, 2018 6:16 pm

denise wrote:
Sun Mar 04, 2018 1:43 pm
so people spinning thousands of prayer wheels and hanging prayer flags have incorrect behavior.....burning incense and candles and making offerings at shrines should stop?
This gets into a subject which is challenging and depends on your intentions. If you hang prayer flags, prayer wheels and burn incense in hope an external entity of any kind will make things "better" for you, then that would be wrong view based on the Pali Canon. If you do it to engender good qualities in the mind and practice the 8 fold path, then it is right view, right effort, etc etc.

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aflatun
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Re: Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

Post by aflatun » Mon Mar 05, 2018 2:58 am

The kind of prayer many people are talking about in this thread (supplication) as if it is prayer as such accounted for about 5% of the prayer I did for years as a serious practitioner in an Abrahamic tradition.

The recollection of the Buddha that the suttas praise, and which seems to lead to jhana, or just short of jhana, is similar to what an Islam is known as remembrance of God (Dhikr-ullah): Contemplating, keeping in mind, emulating and invoking the Divine Names (mercy, compassion, etc). Dhikr funny enough encompasses much of what we Buddhists call Sati-Sampajanna (mindfulness of what one is doing at all times, along with the ethical teachings that one is trying to actualize. In Islam this to a large extent falls under what is known as ihsan, often deceptively translated as "virtue") ... and it involves formal "sitting meditation" and leads to states of absorption and insight. Of course Right View is not there, so its not Buddha Dhamma, but the structural similarity is undeniable.

Prayer for a Muslim*** in the beginning stages is about submitting oneself to the Divine and at the highest level annihilation (fana) of the self (nafs) in the sheer Existence (wujud) that is the Deity: The highest form of prayer is when it is God who remembers Himself and "you" are nowhere to be found. (cf. Meister Eckhart: The eye through which I see God is the same eye through which God sees me...")

So yeah I'd call that prayer, and say its a wonderful thing to "pray to the Buddha."

***This is just an example. We'd find similar things in the other Abrahamic faiths.
Last edited by aflatun on Mon Mar 05, 2018 5:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
"People often get too quick to say 'there's no self. There's no self...no self...no self.' There is self, there is focal point, its not yours. That's what not self is."

Ninoslav Ñāṇamoli
Senses and the Thought-1, 42:53

"Those who create constructs about the Buddha,
Who is beyond construction and without exhaustion,
Are thereby damaged by their constructs;
They fail to see the Thus-Gone.

That which is the nature of the Thus-Gone
Is also the nature of this world.
There is no nature of the Thus-Gone.
There is no nature of the world."

Nagarjuna
MMK XXII.15-16

alfa
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Re: Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

Post by alfa » Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:11 am

We pray because we have desire/craving.

Else, we wouldn't pray.

No matter how you define prayer, it is born of craving. It is born of desire alone, the desire for SOMETHING (whatever that thing is).

So pertinent question here is not: What is prayer?

The only question that matters is: Why do we pray?

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No_Mind
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Re: Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

Post by No_Mind » Mon Mar 05, 2018 7:09 am

alfa wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:11 am
We pray because we have desire/craving.

Else, we wouldn't pray.

No matter how you define prayer, it is born of craving. It is born of desire alone, the desire for SOMETHING (whatever that thing is).

So pertinent question here is not: What is prayer?

The only question that matters is: Why do we pray?
What if I pray for non material things -- such as if I pray for wisdom, if I pray for peace on this earth, if I pray that all living things be well .. would you call that desire too?

:namaste:
I know one thing: that I know nothing

thepea
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Re: Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

Post by thepea » Mon Mar 05, 2018 11:47 am

No_Mind wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 7:09 am

What if I pray for non material things -- such as if I pray for wisdom, if I pray for peace on this earth, if I pray that all living things be well .. would you call that desire too?

:namaste:
Yes.

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No_Mind
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Re: Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

Post by No_Mind » Mon Mar 05, 2018 11:51 am

thepea wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 11:47 am
No_Mind wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 7:09 am

What if I pray for non material things -- such as if I pray for wisdom, if I pray for peace on this earth, if I pray that all living things be well .. would you call that desire too?

:namaste:
Yes.
What is wrong with praying for peace on this earth?

:namaste:
I know one thing: that I know nothing

chownah
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Re: Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

Post by chownah » Mon Mar 05, 2018 12:17 pm

What is wrong with praying to the buddha is that it goes against his teaching that it is by our own efforts that we will make progress or not.
chownah

James Tan
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Re: Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

Post by James Tan » Mon Mar 05, 2018 12:45 pm

chownah wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 12:17 pm
What is wrong with praying to the buddha is that it goes against his teaching that it is by our own efforts that we will make progress or not.
chownah
Nothing wrong as long as we are not buddhist , right ?
Last edited by James Tan on Mon Mar 05, 2018 1:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

thepea
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Re: Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

Post by thepea » Mon Mar 05, 2018 1:13 pm

No_Mind wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 11:51 am
thepea wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 11:47 am
No_Mind wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 7:09 am

What if I pray for non material things -- such as if I pray for wisdom, if I pray for peace on this earth, if I pray that all living things be well .. would you call that desire too?

:namaste:
Yes.
What is wrong with praying for peace on this earth?

:namaste:
You didn’t ask if it was wrong you asked if it was desire/craving.
There is no right and wrong just cause and effect.

chownah
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Re: Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

Post by chownah » Mon Mar 05, 2018 1:31 pm

James Tan wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 12:45 pm
chownah wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 12:17 pm
What is wrong with praying to the buddha is that it goes against his teaching that it is by our own efforts that we will make progress or not.
chownah
Nothing wrong as long as we are not buddhist , right ?
I don't know.....is there nothing wrong with praying to someone who has more or less said that they will not answer your prayers?.......seems kind of like some strange sort of self fulfilling failure.....or not self fulfilling failure as the case may be.... So I guess it's great for someone with a will to fail......
chownah

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rightviewftw
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Re: Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

Post by rightviewftw » Mon Mar 05, 2018 1:37 pm

aflatun wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 2:58 am
The kind of prayer many people are talking about in this thread (supplication) as if it is prayer as such accounted for about 5% of the prayer I did for years as a serious practitioner in an Abrahamic tradition.

The recollection of the Buddha that the suttas praise, and which seems to lead to jhana, or just short of jhana, is similar to what an Islam is known as remembrance of God (Dhikr-ullah): Contemplating, keeping in mind, emulating and invoking the Divine Names (mercy, compassion, etc). Dhikr funny enough encompasses much of what we Buddhists call Sati-Sampajanna (mindfulness of what one is doing at all times, along with the ethical teachings that one is trying to actualize. In Islam this to a large extent falls under what is known as ihsan, often deceptively translated as "virtue") ... and it involves formal "sitting meditation" and leads to states of absorption and insight. Of course Right View is not there, so its not Buddha Dhamma, but the structural similarity is undeniable.

Prayer for a Muslim*** in the beginning stages is about submitting oneself to the Divine and at the highest level annihilation (fana) of the self (nafs) in the sheer Existence (wujud) that is the Deity: The highest form of prayer is when it is God who remembers Himself and "you" are nowhere to be found. (cf. Meister Eckhart: The eye through which I see God is the same eye through which God sees me...")

So yeah I'd call that prayer, and say its a wonderful thing to "pray to the Buddha."

***This is just an example. We'd find similar things in the other Abrahamic faiths.
thanks, good info. a bit off topic but do you know of people practicing for "absorbtion ihsan" at all nowadays? Also i assume this would be more of the type of prayer that is recital of a mantra rather than asking for things or what?

chownah
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Re: Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

Post by chownah » Mon Mar 05, 2018 2:22 pm

I think that some people are confusing "praying TO the buddha" with some sort of "praying ABOUT the buddha"......this thread is supposed to be about praying TO the buddha which would be addressing some sort of verbalisation (I guess) to the buddha.
chownah

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aflatun
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Re: Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

Post by aflatun » Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:35 pm

rightviewftw wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 1:37 pm
thanks, good info. a bit off topic but do you know of people practicing for "absorbtion ihsan" at all nowadays? Also i assume this would be more of the type of prayer that is recital of a mantra rather than asking for things or what?
Plenty of people sure, but just like Buddhism its a mixed scene. There are groups led by teachers that are 1) knowing charlatans 2) well meaning but deluded 3) legit. #3 is super rare. And in this tradition being a legit teacher means having a legit transmission (baya) from a legit teacher, so you can imagine it gets hairy. That said I've known many dedicated practitioners that didn't have a perfect teacher. In the middle east there there still exists a tradition that is master-student based and involves systematic study of theology (kalam), logic, philosophy (falsafa) and these contemplative practices (tasawwuf, i.e. "sufism"). Similar to the way rigorous scholastic training is wedded to intensive meditation practice in the Tibetan tradition. It's out there, but its hard to find.

And yeah while the practice encompasses all activities of normal life and can be implemented in a variety of ways, it comes to a head in sitting-type practice which usually involves actual repetition of a name, like a mantra. But that's not the only way its done. Some people use the breath, some people do visualization or 'staring' type practices, some people even dance (@39 seconds) . And there are various schemes associated with all of this that amount to a 'progress of insight' also, most clearly articulated by Ibn Al Arabi, Suhrawardi, Mulla Sadra, etc.
"People often get too quick to say 'there's no self. There's no self...no self...no self.' There is self, there is focal point, its not yours. That's what not self is."

Ninoslav Ñāṇamoli
Senses and the Thought-1, 42:53

"Those who create constructs about the Buddha,
Who is beyond construction and without exhaustion,
Are thereby damaged by their constructs;
They fail to see the Thus-Gone.

That which is the nature of the Thus-Gone
Is also the nature of this world.
There is no nature of the Thus-Gone.
There is no nature of the world."

Nagarjuna
MMK XXII.15-16

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rightviewftw
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Re: Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

Post by rightviewftw » Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:53 pm

aflatun wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:35 pm
Thanks i have a friend who is very muslim and a strong person. So maybe i should help him make the Absorbtion Jhanas instead of going about it intellectually because he does not like to talk about his doubts.

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